Monthly Archives November 2007

Shanghai Wild Animal Park…. WILD!!!!


Forgive me if I mentioned this, but I was really sneaky and put “Personal Day” on Andy’s school calendar last month so that he could take the day off today? Why you ask??? Maddie had her first field trip of the year to the Shanghai Wild Animal Park and the whole family joined her for this wondrous event! It started off with a very Jurassic Park like tour through the various kingdoms in the school bus. It stared off light with looking at the vegetarians, but ended with lions, tigers, and bears… literally! They walked right up to the bus as the children sat there gobsmacked. The seal show was… hilarious is the word I’m looking for here. Maddie was giddy with excitement all day long and crashed hard when we made it home...

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Presents from Grandma Dotty


Maddie loves it when there is a box waiting for her when she walks in the front door from school. Today though, the package came to Maddie at school because the Chinese government couldn’t figure out where we lived! She saw it though and immediately wanted to open it in front of her friends… she didn’t ’cause mom said “I don’t think so” to the little lady but Maddie opened it as soon as we got home!

Mom has sent us lots of packages while we’ve been in China. Sometimes, we’ll order things online and ship them to her. She in turn stuffs them in box and includes other goodies above and beyond what we’ve ordered. I get my Splenda or favorite hot sauce, Andy gets a golf ball or two, and Maddie, well, Maddie gets everything from dresses to coloring books...

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Christmas, Flat Tires, and Ballet


This was our day in our nutshell!! It is the day after Thanksgiving which means that it’s technically an okay thing to put up your Christmas tree. We are still hear for three weeks, so why not enjoy the lights and the ornaments? Besides, it’s the perfect time to talk about Rudolph and Santa and flat tires…

After getting the ornaments on the tree, the star on top, the stockings hung over the fireplace and a wish list made for Santa (which consisted of ONE thing… proper toe ballet shoes) we realized that we were going to be late for ballet. Andy ran out to the car and noticed it right away… a flat tire. As Maddie says, “Bu Hao!” Andy was quick as whip and got that doughnut wheel on the van only to find that it too was flat...

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Maddie’s Third Thanksgiving of the Year…


Days like today are the ones that people will talk about years later. Holidays overseas can either be really, really great because you may be sitting someplace exotic and forget that it’s even a holiday OR they can be really, really tough because you know all of your loved ones are gathered back home – together – as a family. I think that most of the Americans overseas at SAS this year felt the latter, so we invited them to our house for a Thanksgiving feast.

Maddie and I made jello/marshmallow/popcorn balls for the kids early in the morning and Andy made one turkey with AMAZING stuffing – but that is all the cooking we did as everyone brought a dish...

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Maddie’s Second Thanksgiving of the year…


Moving to China means working on Thanksgiving. When we were in Saudi, the weekend fell on Thursday and Friday so the only work to be done was cooking, beverage partaking, and swimming! Moving to China has meant work. Maddie had her party at school on Thanksgiving which is great, but we were also able to have a Thanksgiving meal at home Thursday night! Once again, we invited Todd, Tonya, and Cooper over for a meal of sorts. The meal was definitely pulled together at the last minute, but they are such good friends of ours that it’s really about the company not the food. We ordered a turkey from Eurest, the school’s cafeteria, the day before and then Andy made gingered carrots and boxed mashed potatoes...

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Maddie’s First Thanksgiving of the Year


Maddie has been looking forward to her class party all week long. It ends up that the kids made a place mat and each was laminated for the shindig. Since I started back to work this week, I wasn’t able to go in a help the other moms (and some dads) help set up and I knew that it would be a slight shock for Maddie. However, I promised her that I would come to the party for 10 minutes at least and so I did! My kids were in the midst of learning about rate of change and I gave them a task that had to be completed in 15 minutes, told my colleagues I was leaving, grabbed Andy in his office, and we zipped to the party.

The room was bustling with activity and we saw Maddie sitting at the end of the table a bit long faced, but when we both walked through the door she simply BEAMED from ear to ...

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Interesting Concept…

It has been an excellent weekend!! I am heading back to work on Monday so Maddie decided to come to school with me for about five hours on Saturday to get my room ready. She watched cartoons and actually helped me a bit by cleaning off tables, putting books away, erasing boards….

We had some interesting conversations to boot! We were talking about me returning to work and in her most honest voice possible this is what she had to say to me:

“Good mommy! That means Amelia can crawl back into your tummy!”

Sounds painful, doesn’t it?

Thanks for perspective Maddie Anna!!!!

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So Hopeful….

The mood is set…

A hungry Amelia awaits her feeding, the boppy is in place, Maddie stands by adoringly looking at her sister….AND DAD WANTS TO STICK WHAT IN MY MOUTH?!

I get to head back to work on Monday so we’re trying a few different things out and a bottle would be one of them. This time didn’t work, but the absolute joy on daddy’s and Maddie’s face is enough to want to make me keep trying!!

Here’s the thing with returning to work. My heart is really heavy and I’ve been thinking about the little things I’ll miss during the day, but leave it to Maddie to put it all in perspective.

Maddie: “Mommy, will you be a teacher again?”
Me: “Yes, Maddie – next week… four sleeps from now.”
Maddie: “Will you come see me again at school? I’ve missed you…”

So there you have it...

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Good Year…

Maddie is speaking in terms of years now…

Me: “Maddie, how about you take a bath before bed tonight?”
Maddie: “Next year Mommy…with bubbles!”

Me: “Maddie, aren’t you going to school today?”
Maddie: “Um… no… next year Mommy! I want to go to ballet class now!”

So… Maddie is having a good year! And just to confirm that she really is having a good year, we “ran into” the Goodyear blimp in Shanghai! :)

In English


In Chinese

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At the ballet…


Maddie has been looking forward to this day for a long time! She has opened her eyes almost every morning and said that she is ready for ballet class. She has AT LEAST 10 different books about the ballet and I’m pretty sure that we’ve read all of them every night this week. She even took one of the books to school for Show-and-Tell so that Ms. Preeti would read it to the class…

She has several ballet outfits, but she understands that the special tutu outfits are only for performances, according to the 10 books. So she was content in her tights and leotard! When her teacher opened the classroom door and asked students in the hallway who was ready for ballet class, Maddie every so sweetly looked up to her with big blue eyes and said, “I am ready for ballet class...

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Hair and Nails

Maddie is starting to really understand this whole concept of time. She knows that when the clock reads 6:00, her favorite show is on T.V. She knows that she gets to put up her Shanghai Christmas tree in 14 days because she is marking them off the calendar. She knows that tomorrow is ballet class. So when she woke up a little cranky saying that she didn’t want to get her haircut, I played the ballet card. “But Maddie, you’ll want to make a good impression on your first day of ballet class!”

Hook – Line – Sinker!!

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Parent-Teacher Conferences!

Sometimes I just have to pinch myself… where are we and how did we get here? I have a four year old daughter who goes to SCHOOL… Not a daycare – not a nursery school – not a preschool. I must be growing up.

Maddie’s report card came home last week which made me crack up for two years in a row. Every report card Maddie has received ALWAYS says something like “Maddie can count to 65…. WHEN SHE WANTS TO.” This little sweet child of mine is so her own person and everything has to be her idea most of the time. I love her for it…

The pic to the left is her thank you note to us for attending her conferences. As you can see, she copied Dear Mommy quite well, but what is even cooler is that she wrote rainbow under her paw there. Ms...

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The Fish Died…

Maddie’s class blog is password protected so I’ve copied with permission the latest entry to be posted. When I dropped Maddie off at school this morning, Preeti showed it to me and said that Maddie was the star of the post! So… kind of morbid, but fish die – it’s a fact of life!

From Ms. Preeit’s Blog…

Why did our fish die?
Last Friday afternoon, we realized that our fish were not doing well. Three goldfish did not look good. They were swimming belly-up in the tank. I took the three fish out into another tub, as advised to by a colleague who is knowledgeable about fish. He also suggested I check the quality of the water with a PH value kit. I did this discreetly – my intention being not to upset the children. The PH value was in the acceptable range...

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47 Shopping Days Until Christmas

Our little American now has her passport in hand so we are counting down the days until we can head back to Oregon to put our feet on homeland soil. It may be 47 shopping days until Christmas, but it’s only 37 until we can shout “TIMBER” at the top of our lungs as we chop down the tree! Can’t wait to see you all…

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We love Book Fairies!!


There are two things Maddie said to me this morning the very second she opened her eyes.

  1. I’m ready for ballet class now (more later on that one…)
  2. The Book Fairy is coming to school today

I knew it was Book Fair day at school, but I had no idea that it was the Book Fairy that delivered the books! I love looking at life through Maddie’s glasses. I am so very humbled by being a mom!!

We kind of went way out as she took her shopping bag and stuffed it with books from every corner of the room. Before checking out, we went through and counted the books to see how many we were splurging on and found that Maddie had grabbed a book in Spanish. This is how the conversation went…

Me: “Maddie, mommy doesn’t know how to read Spanish… I can read Japanese, but Spanish I cannot do.”
Peanut: “Hmmm… ...

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Dad Came Home with a Prize!


I return to school from maternity leave in two weeks…. oh my gosh, two weeks. How time flies! I’ve been thinking about how to make it as easy as possible on my heart. I’m been planning and worrying and thinking some more and decided to have a “rainy day plan”… literally. IF it’s raining, it doesn’t make sense for Amelia to enter the rain to come to me… it makes sense for me to go to her! So…. this is what dad came home with today!! The nice thing about it is that everybody in the family can enjoy it!! We can zip to school in a jiff or zip to the village when we need some grub. And it’s RED!!! Thanks Andy!!

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Dad’s Home!!!


At last… we’ve been waiting and waiting! Dad is HOME!

Before Andy left for Thailand, we all went to the Shanghai Fabric Market and ordered a family set of cashmere coats! This is Maddie’s first tailor made cashmere coat and, of course, it is pink! It was in the 60s today, but as soon as she saw it, she had to wear it for the rest of the day! She can’t wait to show it off at school on Monday… I hope it’s cold then!

We took Amelia and Maddie down to the Bund for Amelia’s first visit. The wind was calm, the neon was out, the boats had their horns blaring…. it was awesome! Full of giggles and light…

Hope you enjoyed your day girls!

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Moments that make you Smile!




And that’s all I have to say about that…
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Halloween – Part II



Maddie was giddy most of the day and the squeals of delight did not stop until she crashed at bed time. Leading the parade was a highlight and Trick-or-Treating around the the community was a highlight. I love living out here because it’s just so… down home. Go figure – in China of all places.

The kids and parents all met up together around 6:00 and then went Trick-or-Treating for over an hour. They say that there aren’t that many houses out at the Links but I think an hour and 17 houses is plenty of fun! I was so happy to see the parents dressed up too… we didn’t even plan it that way. And of course, because we were dressed up we were able to partake in a few treats along the way...

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